The Next Generation of Electric Supercars Begins With Audi's New E-Tron Concept

The 764-horsepower single-seater is a glimpse into the future.
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Audi debuted its new PB 18 e-tron concept car at 2018 Monterey Car Week to show off the company's plans for high-performance electric vehicles.

Amusingly, to underscore the PB 18's driver focus — when driving solo, the driver's seat can be moved to the center of the car — engineers dubbed the project 'Level Zero' in reference to the various 1-5 levels of autonomous driving capability.

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“We want to offer the driver an experience that is otherwise available only in a racing car like the Audi R18," explained Gael Buzyn is Head of the Audi Design Loft in Malibu, the studio that produced the concept car. 

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"That’s why we developed the interior around the ideal driver’s position in the center. Nevertheless, our aim was to also give the PB 18 e-tron a high degree of everyday usability, not just for the driver, but also for a potential passenger.”

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So the driver's seat can also slide to the left to leave space for a passenger to ride along on the right side of the cockpit.

A lightweight mix of aluminum, carbon and multi-material body composites helps keep curb weight to 3,417.2 lbs. despite the hefty mass of a solid state battery pack powering the car's trio of electric motors.

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One powers the front wheels while the other two drive the rears for a total system peak power of 764 horsepower and 612 lb.-ft. torque, which vault the PB 18 e-tron to 60 mph in just two seconds.

The 95 kilowatt-hour solid-state battery pack is liquid cooled and provides a driving range of 310 miles. For comparison, a Tesla Model S P100 has a 100 kWh battery pack and a driving range of about 265 miles.

Charging can be done with an 800-volt connection that can do the job in just 15 minutes, or through a wireless inductive charger built into the floor, similar to the wireless charging system employed by many smartphones.

We may be moving away from traditional gasoline-fuel supercars, but Audi's PB 18 e-tron demonstrates that we won't be leaving dynamic styling or exciting performance behind.